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Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws in stores globally by 2020

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Starbucks' plan to phase out plastic straws will begin in Vancouver and Seattle

To eliminate straws, Starbucks is transitioning from the flat, plastic lids that require them, to ones that feature a raised lip you can drink from. Last week, Seattle became the latest city to ban plastic utensils and straws.

Starbucks, citing the environment threat to oceans, will ban plastic straws from all of its stores globally in less than two years.

Alternative-material straws such as paper or compostable plastic will be rolled-out for Frappuccino beverages, and they will also be available for customers upon request if they would prefer a straw.

Other companies have been ditching plastic straws as bans on the item have gone into place.

Starbucks said the new strawless lids will first be implemented in Seattle and Vancouver in the third quarter of this year. The Seattle-based carrier, which said it handed out 22 million stir straws and citrus picks previous year, also said it would have non-plastic, marine-friendly drinking straws for travelers that request them. Oakland and Berkeley, California, and other cities have also banned the use of disposable straws.

The strawless lid has already been in use at numerous company's stores for certain kinds of cold drinks like cold foam and "draft nitro", the coffee drink that comes out of a keg, mixed with nitrogen.

The strawless lids will begin to appear in Seattle and Vancouver Starbucks this fall, with phased rollouts within the US and Canada to follow next year.

"For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways", said Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks.

The UK government said that 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die each year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

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